What is the first thing that college reminds you of? CANTEEN? FRIENDS? SOCIETIES? FESTS?
For the large chunk of high school students still in the quest of their calling, HAZY?
Wading through a year and a half this deep-seated realization surfaced on me. Why am I going to college?
I belong to this major category of people who don’t aspire to be a doctor or a fashion designer or a photographer or anything definite, as a matter of fact. I am backed by fear, doubt and anxiety every single day. I am frenzied by this relentless desire to explore myself apart from the academics but the constant need for motion forced me to tread the safe path and go to college.
But am I doing anything to raise above the ruck? Or simply blending in the herd? So, this is my little internal rant.
Everybody plans to go to college. But why do you go to college?
Because you have to? To score a job? Okay. What sort of a job? And I leave you drowning among inconclusive answers.
Don’t fret. You are like 99% of us. It’s absolutely normal to not know what you want to do in future but basing your entire choice on an idea as prosaic as college is scary and irrational in my opinion.
Think closer, isn’t college something you HAVE to do rather than something you want to.
It is like, you basically want X. You have no idea what X is and what is required to achieve it. Therefore, you decide to invest 4-5 years of your life and hundreds of thousands going to college.
Alternatively, one can easily look up a college’s discipline and buy books and mug up and reproduce on paper. Isn’t the college degree just another validation of that? Mostly, we are being taught what to know but not how to apply it.
Every year a humongous group of teenagers go to college and the number of students disappointed with the faculty, bored in class, sleeping through the vapid lectures, snap chatting their friends and borrowing assignments to copy, is overwhelming. They find college uninspiring. They hate attending classes. The only engaging part of college is the extra-curricular.
Apart from exchanging dreary looks and writing arbitrary assignments to meet arbitrary deadlines, college does equip you with answers at least, that you remember till the exam hour at least, because you can’t depend on Google at least.
But even a 9.8 CGPA may find himself struggling among the other 10 pointers trying to apply the cesspool of information but lacking hands-on experience. Why do all graduates from IIMs and IITs land different places when they have the same degree after all? Why do we run after colleges and universities like brand lunatics? Has education been materialized?
DEBUNKING THE DEGREE
As far as the job is concerned, in the job market there will be a hundred candidates with the same degree as yours. What have you done to stand out? What has a greater market value there? A degree isn’t absolutely necessary to land you a job, after all, you realize. Because it boils down to your intellect at the end of the day. Your university can’t be your brand then.
Also, the financial burdens of going to college with no purpose can be huge which could otherwise be invested in your personal inclinations and make you a better individual. Test scores and mark sheets predict nothing about you. It only puts quick-grasping students who can manage at the eleventh hour and those rigorously studying throughout the semester on an equal footing.
What about creative thinking, analyzing, problem solving, cognitive, networking and socializing skills? Sure, three years in college didn’t put you off for entire life but what if those three years you could have honed these skills in tandem with exploring your varied interests and seeking the customized knowledge you need.
So, the bottom line is we go to college to bag a degree.
Good news is, the degree is guaranteed. The sad news is, most of the capitalists and business owners do not care much about the degree anymore.
They look for experience, work ethics, and ability to quickly and coherently answer an email (only about seven people under the age of 25 have this ability) or greet a business tycoon with confidence and strike a conversation that matters.
Google is one among many companies to have recently removed degree as a criterion for hiring. Google’s Senior Vice President for People Operations, Laszlo Bock revealed “What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well,”
Go around, explore arenas, I know the path is scary but a closer look reveals college is no less hazy and scary, just safer. Explore. Experiment. Chart out a year or two with a variety of ventures to broaden your horizon.
You won’t know if your calling in life is being a scuba diving instructor by sitting in the classroom studying books on finance because others are doing it. You won’t, in fact, know if accounts is your passion by taking dreary notes on finance, as a matter of fact. What you need is to intern yourself under respective people, or maybe travel to another part of the country and learn their language, their culture, and you might just find your passion kindling within you.
Sure, college is the quickest and surest way to learn when you are interested in technology or advanced engineering is your passion but I mean to address the vast majority who is struggling to discover their forte. I only sincerely urge this crowd to not just be freshmen robots but consider the non-collegiate alternatives. There is a need to step out of the traditional education system and find better alternatives under the sun. College is more like a rite of passage today.
Agreed, college gives you 50% of what you expect if you’re one to grab opportunities but the staggering number of people who cannot step out of their comfort zone need to be brought out of the cocooned existence. Go to trade schools, opt for various diplomas, learn what interests you and carve your own path. You won’t just secure a brighter future but also learn the finer nuances of hard work, compromise, money management, smart traveling and socializing and gain much more from the experience. It might just stir up the inner intellectual in you for then, classroom or no classroom you will be constantly learning. No credentials can limit you.
So, as you stand at this labyrinth I simply toss a choice in front of you of unraveling yourself in an environment that is more growth- conducive, cheaper and more thrilling. The call is yours. It is time you take charge of what you want in life and maybe choose the road less taken.
Image Credits: Google
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.